Reviewed by: Steve Aryan
Writer: Gail Simone
Artists: Ardian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes
I was looking forward to this title because I like the character and because I’m a fan of Gail Simone after enjoying her work on comics including Secret Six and Birds of Prey. However, for me, I thought this was just an average first issue. I know that others have really enjoyed it and thought it was excellent, so I could be in the minority. For me there wasn’t anything that really gripped me, although there was plenty going on. There is a nod to the past and the slate has not been completely wiped clean, so Barbara is not a whole person because of an incident that has left a mental scar, if not a physical one. I’m dodging around it a little because if you are new to comics I don’t want to spoil that part of this first issue. On the one hand I can see that this could make for more interesting stories, but on the other hand I think it robbed the character of some of her strength and ability to be a strong female character. I’m still in two minds, but given the pedigree of the writer, and her love of the character, plus the gorgeous artwork, this is one I will look at again in trade.
Writer: Judd Winnick
Artist: Ben Oliver
This series was a real unknown for me. I’m a big fan of Batman, but there’s no way I was going to pick up all twelve or thirteen Batman related books. Also I didn’t read the setup in the Batman Incorporated comic before the relaunch which is what led to this worldwide franchising of Batman with various people essentially being sponsored by him to fight crime. Batwing is the Batman for Africa, so first of all he has a lot of ground to cover, an entire continent by himself in fact, but ignoring that part, I actually quite enjoyed it. The artwork is great and almost cinematic, the writing is fairly tight and it focuses on introducing the main character, showing off some of his abilities and then it ends on a powerful cliffhanger. I don’t know if it will be strong enough to get me to pick up the second issue, but it was a good solid read that is trying to create a superhero mythology for Africa, so it’s definitely doing something new and is only tenuously connected to Batman himself.
Title: Detective Comics
Writer: Tony S. Daniel
Artists: Tony S. Daniel and Ryan Winn
First this title gets an immediate thumbs up for the artwork which is also done by the writer Tony S. Daniel. Fantastic and really gorgeous, dynamic, kinetic, colourful stuff. This was very well written because in one issue the writer has managed to show how devious and evil, but also how incredibly clever and dangerous, the Joker is. The story is early in Batman’s career so the two of them have not been battling each other for years and right at the end, the issue takes a very strange twist. Everyone I know who has read this issue has been left scratching their head which is not bad thing. It’s got people talking about it and to be honest a Batman title needs something special to make it stand out amongst the other Batman connected books. There are 4 main Batman books, all of them look amazing, all of them have great artists and writers, so something really unusual can only work in its favour. Definitely worth checking out, an intriguing first issue and one I will probably get in trade.
Title: Justice League International
Written by: Dan Jurgens
Artists: Aaron Lopresti and Matt Ryan
Just as the Batman office could be accused of overkill because there are so many of them, it might look as if three Justice League books could be one too many. Much to my surprise I’ve not found that to be true so far. I thought Justice League was a good first issue but more targeted towards the new reader, those not familiar with the DC Universe and the founding of the Justice League. This title is about a carefully chosen group of superheroes from various nations around the world who are working together to save the planet. The second goal of this group is to foster better international relations, however, the team-mates did not choose each other. They are not friends who came together to fight a common cause, who eventually become a family of sorts, like the Justice League. They are people who are on the team because they’ve been told to be by the leader of their country, or they genuinely want to help, or because they think it might help them with their career and standing in the superhero community. There are no doubt several other reasons we’ve not been told, but the end result is the same, a team that is not working together harmoniously. JLI was funny, sinister in places and overall I think it has a lot of potential for the future. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the first issue and it’s definitely one comic I will revisit.
Title: Men of War
Writer: Ivan Brandon
Artists: Tom Derenick, Victor Kalvachev
This is an origin story about a guy named Sergeant Rock. If the name isn’t familiar that’s fine, but if you’ve heard of him before it means you’ve probably read some of DC’s other war comics in the past. Men of War is a solid war comic, but my only complaint is that it features a nameless superhero who causes all sorts of trouble for Rock and his squad. I now realise the story is set in the same universe as the rest of the other DC characters (Superman, Batman etc) but I sort of wish it was its own entity, or it was in its own corner away from all of that, and could just be about normal soldiers doing heroic and amazing things on missions. Seeing them have to deal with the aftermath of a violent and irresponsible superhero is an intriguing idea, but I don’t think it will hold my interest for long. This is definitely a wait and see title for me. I’m interested but will read a bit more about how the story develops before I revisit.
Title: Animal Man
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Travel Foreman
A great first issue. See my full review here.